by Robin Forman
Who gave China the Olympics?
No, seriously. What’s wrong with these people?
In addition to a wealth of human rights violations all their own, China is mixed up in human rights issues involving Darfur too.
How about the fact China is the one of world’s biggest polluters?
Oh, and remember those commies and reds that everyone once feared?
Well, guess which country is ruled by a whole bunch of commies and reds.
Now, China is giving the Dalai Lama ulcers. Don't they know this is the man who wrote The Art of Happiness?
For those who don't read the news on the weekend, you may have missed how Buddhist monks in Tibet led protests against the Chinese occupation of their country. And then the protests turned violent: the worst violence in Tibet in a generation. At least 13 people were killed, and the Chinese arrested at least 24 monks and other protestors.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the riots by Tibetans to wreck the Beijing Olympics. Wen told a news conference in Beijiing: “There is ample fact and plenty of evidence proving this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique.”
Wen also said, "This has all the more revealed the consistent claims by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence but peaceful dialogue are nothing but lies."
In actuality, the Dalai Lama has called for an end to the violence and has threatened to step down as leader of Tibet’s government in exile if violence continues. Mind you, the Dalai Lama and Tibet's government in exile must stay in India to escape Chinese oppression.
China's methods for dealing with the Tibetan protesters are deplorable. Some human rights groups charge Chinese troops with firing indiscriminately at unarmed protestors.
Remember when I wrote about protestors being shot like this before?
It was in Kenya. Only nobody gave Kenya the Olympics.
The U.S and other Western countries bit their tongues in responding to the violence in Tibet. Both U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the European Union called for China to practice “restraint” but veered from making bolder statements. The E.U. also brushed aside the notion of boycotting the Beijiing Olympics. And President George Bush noted he still plans to attend the Olympics.
The Czech Republic and Russia had stronger reactions. The Czech Republic called for the immediate release of all detained people, while Russia encouraged its ally, China, to do whatever it had to in order to “curtail unlawful actions.”
But fear not…none of this conflict will cause the Olympic torch to have to detour.
Phew! That was close. I almost thought human rights might take precedence over a huge international sporting event.
(Photo by art_es_anna of Barcelona, Spain via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License. To see coverage of the Tibetan protests by Al Jazeera English, please check below.)
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by Robin Forman